Friday 27 March

A calm and sunny morning – quite a contrast to yesterday.

We set off on foot to try to find the route of the now abandoned Shrewsbury & Newport Canal that once went off towards Shrewsbury from Norbury Junction.

The canal used to extend beyond the dry dock

The canal used to extend beyond the dry dock

We found it, having walked along the country lane towards Norbury village, turned left just before the village and to a bridge that spanned a wide muddy ditch.

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We climbed down off the bridge and walked along the line of the canal, passing three disused locks that have been abandoned for quite a time as the trees have taken over and grown up through the old gates.

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Work is underway to restore the canal but I think this is going to take some time.   There is a canal somewhere under this field …

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After our walk we returned to the boat to start packing, and prepared the boat ready for its new crew.

They arrived about 8.30pm and, after a brief refresher on how everything works, we waved farewell and drove their car back to Beverley, arriving home just after midnight.

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Thursday 26 March

We woke to rain, overcast skies, blustery gusts of wind and cold air! We took our time getting up and setting off but we did make Norbury before lunch and managed it in between showers.

Grub Street Cutting's High Bridge carrying a short telegraph pole.

Grub Street Cutting’s High Bridge carrying a short telegraph pole.    

Norbury in sunshine after the showers

Norbury in sunshine after the showers

For the last few days our grill hasn’t been working and Storm has been unable to fix it so we popped into the chandlers to ask if they had a gas engineer on site. Within an hour a man had called and fixed the problem.

While in the chandlers we picked up a copy of the April editions of Towpath Talk and the Tillergraph and reading them kept us occupied for most of the afternoon.

We both had a hot shower in the luxurious service block before tucking in to a home-made vegetable curry, that used up the last of our vegetables as we’re trying to eat everything in the fridge as James and Ali are bringing their own supplies. We haven’t planned this very well as The Junction pub here dishes up fantastic meals! We will pop in later for a drink though.

There is a better internet reception here too as we managed a Skype call with Laura today without the image being pixelated or conversation fractured.

 

Wednesday 25 March

We woke to thick fog over the canal and decided to have a cooked breakfast and delay our departure to see if the sun would put in an appearance as forecast.

Literally as we finished washing up and putting away the last plate the sun came out and as we stepped off the boat we were surprised at how warm it was in direct sunlight. If it keeps this up we will soon be in shorts!

We had a slow pootle through Woodseaves Cutting and along the Shebdon Embankment, passing the old wharf with the working boats tied up, from where Chocolate Crumb was once transported to Cadburys in Birmingham. The factory is now owned by Knighton Foods.

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We were aiming for The Anchor at High Offley as our guide-book describes it as an unspoilt pub, with log fires and real ales, that opens lunchtimes and evenings from March to October.   The last twice we have passed by it has been thriving but we’ve not been able to stop as we had already arranged to meet friends at Norbury.

We arrived in time to check in dayight whether it was open and their were glasses on tables in the beer garden so we assumed we’d missed the lunchtime opening and that it would open again in the evening.   We were wrong – it didn’t! Hey ho!

Tuesday 24 March

Despite some hailstone showers today our mission was accomplished…

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Walking Max back along the towpath past Tyrley Locks, we spotted that someone has been having some fun placing objects amongst the nooks and crannies in the rocks.

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This fisherman has attracted a couple of love birds and a new fishing rod since we passed this way last year.

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2014

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2015

 

Monday 23 March

A visit to the chandlers in Market Drayton this morning, suggested that the price of marine paint has increased significantly as here too it was very expensive.   We bit the bullet and bought more undercoat and some black enamel and headed off to the 48 hour moorings above Tyrley Locks where there is a nice concrete edge and few walkers.

We were one of three boats heading up through the Tyrley Locks this morning. The front boat was an eighty year old single hander – there is hope for us all!

Once moored, the starboard gunwhale was sanded, washed, and the deep scratches were primed and then the cabin sides were polished with Mer.   The primer needs time to dry and so we’ll sand and undercoat tomorrow, weather permitting.

With time on our hands, we went for a circular walk taking the country lane towards the Four Alls pub, left onto the main road for about a mile and then we took the public footpath across farmland and back onto the canal close to Woodseaves Cutting.

The pub sign provided an explanation of the name; rule them all, fight them all, prey for them all, and pay for them all ie the monarchy, military, the clergy and the laity.

Beef stew and treacle sponge with custard for tea tonight. I think we’ve earnt it!

 

Sunday 22 March

Storm volunteered to work the 15 locks of the Audlum flight while I steered. After just six locks he was joined by three lock-keepers who assisted him and we’d cleared the flight within two hours.

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The CART had been busy cutting the vegetation back at the side of the locks and after foraging through the cut grass Max came limping back covered in burrs; his leg feathers and ears were just a solid mass. Normally he hates being brushed, but on this occasion he stood patiently while I teased them out of his coat.

By 11am the sun was shining again and we soaked up the warmth and enjoyed the scenery.

We swapped roles for the five Adderley locks. Here we passed a working boat and its unpowered butty which was being bow-hauled through the locks – this looked like hard work. The butty was a very snug fit in the lock, so much so that its crew had to keep a constant eye on its stern to make sure it didn’t catch on the cill as the water emptied.

At the farm shop at Adderley Wharf we bought some cured bacon, two small pork pies and a loaf of bread. We had lunch on the move and arrived into Market Drayton soon afterwards.

We went for a stroll into town and it was nice to see so many people sitting out enjoying their gardens and the weather.

The town comprises mostly independent traders and most of the shops were closed and the streets deserted, allowing us to stand and admire many of the beautiful historic buildings.

We did find one square occupied by ‘the multiples’, near the Town Hall, and they were open and the square there was busy.

We weren’t tempted to buy anything and returned to the boat to make the most of the daylight.

I drained all our moisture boxes and refilled them with crystals. They do a fantastic job at keeping condensation at bay.

 

Saturday 21 March

Another sunny morning.   Laura, Marc & Summer paid us an unexpected visit as they were on their way to Derby and stopped by for a cuppa.   A nice surprise.   Summer spotted some ducks and we found her some bread  to feed to them but she was feeling a bit peckish herself so the ducks didn’t get much.

Hanging out the window

Hanging out the window

After we’d waved them goodbye, we set off for Audlem.   The Cheshire countryside looks lovely in the sunshine.  We passed by the now, not so secret, Secret Bunker – a remnant of the cold war.  We visited here in 2010 and it is worth a visit.  www.hackgreen.co.uk

 

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